Bideford 'twins' can't come to ceremony
BIDEFORD S long-awaited official twinning with Manteo in North Carolina will not take place in the town this month, after all. It may now take place in America, instead. Representatives from the US community had been expected to visit Bideford from Marc
BIDEFORD'S long-awaited official "twinning" with Manteo in North Carolina will not take place in the town this month, after all.
It may now take place in America, instead.
Representatives from the US community had been expected to visit Bideford from March 30 to April 5 and arrangements had been made for the signing of an official charter, unveiling of a road sign and a civic reception.
But the Mayor of Manteo Jamie Daniels has sent a message to Bideford's Mayor Andy Powell to say that they will not now be coming.
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Mr Powell described this as "the most disappointing news I have received in my year of office."
Reading between the lines,it appeared that the recession was biting equally hard among the Americans as it was here, he said. But Mr Powell is hoping that all is not lost.
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He is planning to go to North Carolina himself on April 5, to join Prof Mark Horton, well known for the television programme Coast, and a party from Bristol University, to continue an archaeological dig started at the end of last year.
This is aimed and finding the "Lost Colony of Roanoke" and proving Bideford's connections with the earliest settlers of America.
"I will make a point of visiting the Manteo mayor and presenting our best wishes and friendliest welcome to those Americans who look to England and specifically North Devon for their holidays," he said.
Tomorrow (Thursday) he will be seeking approval from Bideford Town Council to take with him the twinning charter, which could then be signed in Manteo.
Mr Powell said he had hoped that the Americans' visit at the end of this month and official signing of the charter would have put the record straight after Bideford's embarrassment at being named "the town that forgot it was twinned."
This arose after a representative from Manteo made a surprise visit three years ago with a gift to mark 25 years of twinning between the two communities, only to find Bideford had no record of an official twinning.
Since then the communities have drawn closer and it was hoped to formally cement the relationship with the official twinning ceremony.
Road signs proclaiming Bideford's twinning with Manteo have already been erected around the town.
Mr Powell said while the official twinning charter had not yet been signed there was an undeniable link between the two communities and the Americans had considered themselves twinning for the past 25 years.
It would seem crazy to take the signs down until another visit could be arranged.